Coronation Day in Thailand

The Thai royal family, (L to R) King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn and Queen Sirikit.(AFP/File/Pornchai Kittiwongsakul)

His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej was crowned as Rama IX, the 9th king of the Chakri dynasty, on 5th May 1950. The anniversary of this day has been observed as a public holiday ever since.

In former times, the accession to the throne of a Siamese sovereign was not celebrated publicly. Only a simple ceremony was held by the court officials, in which the royal title and articles of royal use were presented to the king.

After King Mongkut (Rama IV) ascended the throne and performed the traditional ceremony on 6 April 1851, he issued an edict saying that the coronation of a monarch was regarded as an auspcious occasion in all countires ruled by a sovereign and was joyfully celebrated by the people of the whole country. However, this had never been done in Siam. The king, therefore, ordered that his coronation be celebrated by inviting Buddhist monks to the Grand Palace to chant sutras on the 13th day of the 6th moon and again to be entertained at a feast the next day. This was the first time the enthronement of a Thai king was celebrated.

In the present reign, Coronation Day is observed by a series of religious rites lasting for three days. On the first day, the 3rd of May, there is a Buddhist ceremony at Amarindra Vinichai Hall in the Grand Palace dedicated to the ancestors of the Chakri House, in which scriptures are chanted and a sermon is delivered by a high monk. On the second day, the ceremony consists of two parts – a Brahmanic one and a Buddhist one. The third day is Coronation Day. A feast is given to Buddhist monks and the king is dressed in full regalia. At noon, the Royal Thai Army and the Royal Thai Navy each fire a salute of 21 guns. Later this day decorations are bestowed on officials and civilians who have done meritorious services to the state and society.

Source: Essays on Thailand by Thanapol Chadchaidee

22 responses to “Coronation Day in Thailand

  1. Long Live King Bhumibol!

    I wrote a letter to King Bhumibol when he was sick with something, and I was in kindergarten. I wishe him to get well, and if he did I’d come play the piano for him. One of his people actually called to talk to my parents, and thanked me on behalf of the King for my letter.

    I’m not sure if my mom put that gentleman up to it or not, but he told me that the King would love to have me come in to play…soon. Needless to say, for months, every free moment I had I was at the piano…

  2. A truly amazing monarch. Long may He reign. (if you dont know anything about Him and His work for the Thai nation, read William Stevenson`s authorised biography”The Revolutionary King”)

  3. “The Revolutionary King” is an interesting book, but it is banned here in Thailand.

  4. I have long admired His Majesty King Bhumibol and sometimes got in very heated arguements with friends and roommates that HM is a ruling monarch so devoutedly loved by His kingdom and has actually weilded his power to benefit so much the people of Thailand.

    My curiousity if piqued and I am very interested in getting that book ‘The Revolutionary King’ to read. It’s available in paperback by but I prefer hardback books when I can get them.

    Does anyone know where I might find a hardback copy? And why is the book banned in Thailand?


  5. Also, not to mean any disrespect at all, but why does HM the King and the Royal Family not smile at all? Is this a custom or tradition of Thai Royalty?


  6. Richard – I am surprised that an authorised biography of HM is banned in Thailand – truly !
    Do you know why?

  7. As far as I remember, it was partly the way the author talked about the king by using his nickname. Also there was some controversial subjects discussed such as how his elder brother was “murdered”.

  8. I see. Thankyou. I have the paperback published by Robinson and I must admit I was unimpressed with the subtitle “The True-Life Sequal to “The King And I”” and the “sensationalistic” back cover with its header “The turbulent reign of Thailand`s controversial King” and referances to the “sex trade” and “heroin trade” probably gained the book few friends within Thailand.
    If I had been a casual browser I would not have bought the book, however, I knew quite a lot about HM and his work and needed to know more. Do you know if there is any other English language language book on HM that is worth reading. Thanks.

  9. Khun Don –

    One of the best books I have in my collection on HM King Bhumibol is “King Bhumibol Adulyadej: Thailands Guiding Light” by (Bangkok) Post Books and available through in Bangkok.
    It’s a big coffee table type book but it a treasure archive of photos and writings on the history of His Majesty the King throughout his reign. Well worth buying if you are interested in Thailands recent history and HM the King.


  10. Oh yes and it is all in english. Excellent book.


  11. Oakmonster

    Right on. Now I’ll go look for that book.

    As to the thing about the royal family not smiling: I’ve seen them smile in a lot of other photos. But I’m sure for the formal pictures they probably chose to not have a smiling portrait. It’s a little too casual I’d think.

    In many pictures of my grandmother’s, grand daughter of King Rama IV (King Mongkut), she has a faint smile on her face. Not a full on toothy smile. My dad does the same thing. My theory is that the big toothy smies are for peasants. Or something like that.

  12. “One of the best books I have in my collection on HM King Bhumibol is “King Bhumibol Adulyadej: Thailands Guiding Light” by (Bangkok) Post Books and available through in Bangkok.”

    Thaiphile -Thanks for the book recommendation which you posted last night before, (I presume) the server crashed. ( I copied it to “Word” for future referance- luckily!) I always check DK & Suriwong books for interesting books which I can not get here when in Thailand and have never seen it. Does anybody know if it is available in the UK ?

  13. Thanks for the insight in the royal smiles 😀

    As for the book I am glad to mention it, however Asiabooks was a lesson in the fact of life that not all businesses in Thailand handle shipping internationally the same way.
    I buy books and CD’s regularly from and with no problems. The shipping is fast, usually two weeks and the cost is very reasonable.
    Asiabooks however is expensive (sometimes 100% or more of the cost) and slow. Your better off if someone in Bangkok is coming to visit the US and can buy them for you or you can buy them online and arrange to have them pick them the books for you if they are traveling to the States. That’s what I usually do, wait for a friend coming to DC then I give them a shopping list 😉

    The other option is checking any shops in Thai Town there in LA that sell books. If you find anything good let me know and I’ll send you some money and a shopping list hehehe.

    Every the wordy one,


  14. Khun Don –

    Your welcome I always am happy to be of service 🙂 In addition to being a Thaiphile I am also a Bibliophile so I love books! I am always interested in books on Thailand and I am jealous of those of you with easy access to bookstores there in Thailand like Asiabooks, Suriwong books and DK 😉

    Shipping books from different retailers there in Thailand to the US is sometimes sporadic as I mentioned before so if anyone is ever planning to visit the US (particulary DC) I would be very interested in an arrangement to have some books brought with you into the US. Just a few select titles for personal use if possible. Leave a comment on my latest blog page and I will get back to you.

    Sorry Richard for trying to network on your comments page &:/


  15. Khun Don –

    I forgot to tell you as far as I know is the only place I have seen the book online. I don’t know about the UK but good hunting!


  16. Thanks, Thaiphile, will check that one out.

  17. Wit ka, during the week I’m VERY close to LAX-C, another Thai market depot, with Dokya bookstore built in. They close at 8 p.m. Pretty much any Thai books/CDs you want I can get for you and stick it in the mail, faster and cheaper than online. Just let me know ka!

  18. Hi,

    Can I asked what happened to the king’s brother? Thanks.

  19. Oakley,

    Did you mean you would be close to LAX-C THIS week or during each week where you work? There are some books I am trying to find that would cost way to much to order online and ship from Thailand. I’ll e-mail you the information.

    Thanks krab!


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  21. I love my king so much. Long Live the King. Hope the situation in Thailand is getting better soon.

  22. I’m moved to see how the Thai people loves their King. He should be a great man. I wish him long life and health. This is my first time in Thailand: I can’t find the words to describe this Paradise. Especially Thai people, so kind and always smiling. Thailand make me feel at home, in the hugh of my mother. Thank you Thailand, thanks to Thai people and to the Royal Family. All my best to you.